‘Whole grains’ popular kids’ health claim, says Mintel

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: United states, Whole grain

Whole grains and fiber maintain a strong appeal for health-positioned food products marketed for children, according to new figures from Mintel.

The data, provided to NutraIngredients-USA.com, reveal that launches of children’s products made with whole grains have more than doubled in the United States between 2005 and 2008.

The market researcher conducted a search in its Global New Products Database (GNPD) for new food and beverage products launched with kids’ health claims. In terms of functional or added health-promoting ingredients, the database drew out added fiber, calcium and whole grains.

Mintel defines kids’ products as ones targeting babies, toddlers and children.

Whole grains

Whole grains are found naturally in products such as whole wheat, oatmeal, popcorn and brown rice. They consist of any grain that has retained its starchy endosperm, fiber-rich bran and its germ after milling.

As well as providing high levels of fiber, whole grains have also been found to provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They have also been shown to help reduce the risk factors for a number of diseases, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

On the back of this new science, the US government advised in its 2005 Dietary Guidelines that Americans should consume upwards of three ounce-equivalents of whole grain products per day.

This prompted a surge in consumer awareness of the healthy grains, which has extended to the type of products parents seek out for their children.

In 2005, Mintel recorded 40 new kids’ products launched in the US that highlighted their whole grain content on the label. By 2008, this figure increased to 89 new products.

Globally, the figures are even more encouraging. Whole grain product launches increased 270 percent between 2005 and 2008, from 71 to 263 respectively.

Fiber

Interest in dietary fiber has also been growing with scientific studies linking increased intake to reduced risks of cancers such as colorectal and cardiovascular disease.

Soluble fiber in particular has been researched for its benefits to digestive health, as well as weight management since it can boost satiety.

A survey conducted by ingredient firm Tate & Lyle and released in October last year found that nearly 70 percent of parents believe fiber is an important component in a child’s diet.

A 2008 International Food Information Council survey found 77 percent of people are proactively trying to consume additional fiber.

However, despite the rising interest in the ingredient, there is still massive under-consumption in the US. The United States Department of Agriculture says only one in five Americans are getting the recommended daily amount of fiber (25g for women and 38g for men).

Mintel’s statistics found that children’s products made with fiber have more than doubled since 2005, but the market still appears in its infancy. Last year, only nine new products were launched in the category, compared to four in 2005.

The global market saw launches grow from 13 in 2005 to 38 in 2008.

Calcium

Calcium, thought to provide the building blocks for healthy bones, has not witnessed the same growth as an ingredient for fortification in the US.

Product launches in the country decreased 26 percent between 2005 and 2008, from 31 to 23 respectively.

The global market was significantly more developed, with launches increasing 42 percent from 331 in 2005 to 471 last year.

Source: Mintel’s GNPD

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